Thursday, October 30, 2014

Life is a PumpkinI guess

Pumpkins and gourds are everywhere in Nashville.  Large pumpkins and small pumpkins.  I guess when you don't have to worry about them rotting in 95 degree heat you can have pumpkins sit on your doorsteps and lawns for weeks on end.  Last Saturday it got quite warm (in the upper 80s) and it was very humid, but it really cools a lot in the evening and the mornings are quite chilly.  I would be very comfortable here, except someone in the office keeps the air conditioner on 70 and it gets cold. I already have my little heater on at my feet in my little office.      
For our Saturday adventure we first
went and found a winter coat for Darryl.  We are very fortunate to have a great mall 5 minutes from our apartment.  After we spent all of our money at Men's Warehouse, we headed to Hermitage.  Not took about 30 minutes to get there.  However in the early 1800s it took about 5 hours by horse to get from Hermitage to Nashville. Hermitage is where Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the US (1829-1837), built his Beautiful home and plantation.  However, his wife, Rachel, died a couple of weeks after his election. He built his home in Hermitage in 1803.  It eventually grew to 4,050 acres where he grew cotton.
He started with 8 slaves and eventually had  as many as 150. The house is beautiful and the land around it gorgeous.  It was a warm day when we were there, and it was really humid.
  This picture shows Darryl looking over the vast acreage of the Hermitage wondering just how long does it take to mow all this grass? As I said, it was awfully humid that day so we spent a good chunk of time sitting on those benches.
 Inside the home, the walls are covered with a mural/wallpaper in very vibrant colors.  All the wallpaper in the home is original (restored).  The beds all have dark drapes surrounding the bed to keep out the light.  It must have been hot a lot of the time because even when the temp is not high, the humidity is.
 The gardens are beautiful, even in the fall.  This picture shows daisies and pansies, but there is also a very large herb garden that they used for cooking and medicinal purposes.  Apparently in the spring they plant a lot of tulips.  It seems to me, however, that just about anything could grow here in the south.  As Jennifer Crotts said when she was here..."these houses are beautiful but they sure wouldn't look the same in the Arizona desert."  Same with the flowers.  ..... Another point of interest I found here.  The Democratic Party adopted the logo of the Donkey because of Andrew Jackson.  During his campaign for President the press often referred to him as a 'jackass' so he decided
to adopt it as his own.  I don't know about the Republicans, but I will tell you when I find out.
  This is a slave cabin.Each slave family occupied a 24' square room with 1 door, 1 window, a fireplace, & an attic loft. One of their slaves, Betty, was the Jackson cook for more than 50 years.  Her son stayed at the Hermitage after the Civil War with his family for decades, and is buried in the family garden near the family cemetery.

This is a Dogwood tree.  Who knew?
It looked almost like a Christmas Ivy tree.  Darryl mistakenly called it a bush when we asked one of the employees at Hermitage about it. I won't tell you what he said, but he obviously had no sense of humor and needed to loosen up.

On Sundays we go to church at the Young Single Adult branch in Nashville.  We must seem very immature because we keep ending up with the single adults at church.  This would make it the 4th time we have been assigned there.  The kids (18-30 yrs old) are very nice.  Many of them are in Nashville seeking careers in the music business (singers, musicians, or song writing).
      Well, last Sunday we had a special treat for our meeting.  The Ward (congregation) who meets in the building before us is a family ward.  They had presented their Primary Program (by young children) and consented to give an encore performance for our Branch.  It was great, but the best part was a young boy, about 4-5 years old who stood in the front row and absolutely yelled the songs so loud he was all you could hear.  Sometimes he even put his hands up around his mouth to make it louder.  He was singing....but just very loudly. He didn't know all the words, but he could sure boom out the chorus.
The whole congregation just giggled during each song.  He was so cute and trying so hard.  I felt anxiety for the adults who were supervising this group because it was like herding a group of cats.  It was the best sacrament meeting I have been in for quite a long time.

This is Alek Garcia.  He is one of the Young Adults in our YSA Branch.  We met him the first time we went to Church there.  The thing that endeared him to me was that he was born in Phoenix and had lived in Blythe, California.  I told him we were meant to meet.  We picked him up and took him to the David Archuleta Fireside, even though he warned us that he lived in the Hood!.  Yeah....if the hood is in the honors dorm of Tennessee State College.  Because of his good grades and his difficult beginning in life he has been awarded a $100,000 scholarship for college.  He is very shy, but very charming.  He told me he has his genealogy done back to Adam and Eve. I told him that must mean we are related.  He believed me.
This is Denny Burton.  I am putting his picture here in case he ever becomes famous so I can say I knew him.  He is a songwriter from Canada.  He is a young man who knows his priorities and is a shinning example of "good".

Okay, you knew it was coming....... more tractors.  The bonus is that they are John Deere.  It was a special request from Darryl that we took this picture at the Hermitage.

I had to include this picture I found just because it reminds me of those dirty little mud wrestlers we left behind in Tucson.

We are finding great joy in serving here in Tennessee.  It is not easy, and actually, sometimes it is hard, but that is what brings the real joy and satisfaction.  We work with 240 of the most delightful young men and women you ever want to meet.  They have given up 2 years of their lives in order to serve others and bring truth to them.  As part of my work here, I speak with many apartment managers where our missionaries are renting.  Never has one of them ever had any criticism of them, and in fact when we have to close an apartment when they are moved, they request that we remember them in the future because they love renting to these honorable young men and women.  I love it when they come into the office because they just bring a lot of happiness with them.  Of course by the time they leave again they have eaten anything left in the kitchen, the candy bowl etc.  Yesterday they came in and we made them grilled cheese sandwiches with the homemade bread Darryl had brought it.  They were delighted.  The kitchen in the office has a toaster oven, a George Foreman grill, a microwave and a refrigerator.  If you ever have a chance to serve a mission--it is worth every minute of sacrifice it takes to get here.

We still think of you all......except now it is with a southern accent.  We'd love to have you come out here and help to rake up all the leaves that have fallen on the ground.  I guess I had forgotten about leaves from having lived in Tucson for so long.  Every morning we have to swipe all the leaves off of the car so we can drive to work.  Bye for now.

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